Winners for the 2018 Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 12, 2018

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs is pleased to announce the two winners for the 2018 Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE). The winners will be presented with the award in a ceremony on October 5, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. EDT at the State Department.

Established in 1999, the award recognizes U.S. companies that represent American values well in their business practices worldwide. Each of these companies is contributing to the growth and sustainable development of the local economies in which they work. In 2018, the ACE categories include: Sustainable Operations and Women’s Economic Empowerment.

The winners for this year are:

Award for Corporate Excellence in Sustainable Operations: PVH Corp. (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

PVH Corp., one of the largest apparel companies in the world, was the lead investor in a model industrial park in Hawassa, Ethiopia. The park features state-of-the-art fabric mills and apparel factories powered by renewable energy, beside a zero liquid discharge treatment plant. This industrial park expects to provide approximately 60,000 Ethiopians with work over the coming years. Currently, more than 80 percent of the employees are women, providing valuable opportunities given the country’s high female youth unemployment rate. The ultimate goal for PVH’s model industrial park is to provide a better future not only for the workers and their families, but also to inspire responsible industrialization across Ethiopia for the betterment of its entire population and the creation of a new market for U.S. goods.

Award for Corporate Excellence in Women’s Economic Empowerment: Alaffia (Lome, Togo)

Alaffia alleviates poverty and advances gender equality through the fair trade of indigenous resources from West Africa to produce health and beauty products for the global market. Alaffia directly employs over 700 women in rural Togo, paying salaries that are four times the average family income, and contracts with more than 14,000 women as suppliers. Founded as a social enterprise, Alaffia dedicates 15 percent of its fair trade sales to community projects in rural Togo to improve maternal and child health, promote education, and protect the environment.

The Department of State is committed to working with companies to further responsible business practices worldwide and to recognize their efforts to improve lives at home and abroad. For more information, please visit:

The invitation-only 2018 ACE ceremony will be open to credentialed members of the media on a space-available basis. A separate notice to the press with access details will be issued soon. For media inquiries, please contact the Economic and Business Affairs Bureau public diplomacy office at